Is Hearing Protection Recommended for Musicians?

Close up of drummer's hands playing a drum kit. Drums are very loud, the player should be wearing hearing protection.

Musicians rock. Their shows bring us so much enjoyment. But music is a lot more powerful when it’s loud, and that can be a hearing risk. The musicians themselves are at an increased danger of hearing damage since they are subjected to loud music just about every day.

Whether your income relies on music or not, you’ll still want to be able to hear your favorite songs when you’re pushing 60, 70, or 80. For musicians, safeguarding their hearing is the key to a long and successful career. For the rest of us, hearing protection is the key to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and enrichment.

Oftentimes it can be surprising how loud music can get

Most people would say that a jet engine is really loud.

Is music really that loud? If you ask somebody whether an acoustic guitar or a lone violin is loud, they may not answer right away. Imagine their surprise when they discover the reality: that music is indeed loud! Your ears can even be harmed by classical music which can get to fairly high volumes.

Sounds higher than 90 dB can be created by a violin, for example. That’s around as noisy as a leaf blower. In Europe, for example, they have laws that require ear protection for anyone who works in a work environment where there is noise louder than 85 dB.

And if you’re working with music day in and day out, continuous exposure to that kind of volume, particularly without ear protection, can severely harm your hearing over time.

How can you protect your hearing?

Okay, musicians who want to preserve their hearing for years to come need to protect their ears. So how can musicians continue to enjoy their music while also safeguarding their hearing?

Here are a couple of strategies:

  • Take breaks: Your ears are the same as any other part of your body: they can be overworked and will often benefit from rest. So take frequent breaks from the noise. By doing this, noises won’t overpower and damage your ears. With regard to hearing, how long you’re exposed is almost as significant as how loud it is. The difference between the ideal amount of stimulation and too much can depend upon taking regular breaks.
  • Track your volume: Everyone remembers the old saying “knowledge is power”. So knowing volume levels of noises around you will help you safeguard your hearing. Tracking the volume on amps and PA systems is part of it. But you can also purchase a volume meter app for your cellphone to make it convenient to monitor the real-world volume levels your ears are experiencing day in and day out. If the meter detects volumes above 85dB consistently, you’ll want to address this.

Ear protection is important

Of course, the single most effective thing you can do to protect your ears is easy: using ear protection of some kind. Lots of musicians are worried that ear protection will mute the sound and impact its overall sound quality. That isn’t always the case, depending on which type of hearing protection you use.

  • Ear plugs made mainly for musicians: Most individuals are likely familiar with disposable ear plugs. They’re pretty good at stopping a lot of sound though they sometimes don’t fit very well. They’re not difficult to get, aren’t expensive, and can be thrown away easily. For musicians, they aren’t a great solution. However, by spending just a little more money, you can buy high-quality earplugs designed specifically for musicians. A special material and state-of-the-art engineering are utilized to help these earplugs fit comfortably in the ear and decrease external noise by around 20% while maintaining the audio fidelity. This solution is perfect for musicians who require a light to moderate level of protection (and who don’t have a lot of money to invest in earplugs, or are likely to misplace them).
  • Electronic earplugs: Electronic earplugs work in pretty much the same way as high-quality, non-electronic earplugs. The earplug itself will block most of the sound. What you hear will instead be routed in by the earplug itself. This solution is perfect for those who work in particularly noisy settings, and who want more options in terms of controlling volume.
  • In-ear monitors: Electronics are a significant part of modern music. An in-ear monitor takes those electronic signals and transmits them directly to a device placed inside of your ear (called an in-ear monitor). It’s like a special little speaker for your ear, and most monitors can block out sound from the outside environment (thanks to a fairly tight fit and special design). So you regulate the volume level and are able to hear sound accurately and clearly. In-ear monitors are beneficial for those who work primarily with electronically amplified instruments.

Safeguard your career by protecting your ears

It’s better to begin safeguarding your hearing early, before any substantial damage occurs. Everybody can safeguard their hearing and future with hearing protection solutions for every budget. Don’t forget that you’re investing in your career by using hearing protection for musicians. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy making music for as long as you want to.

Give us a call so we can help you get started.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.